Sunday, September 20, 2015

Two Old Codgers

A certain gentleman, a contemporary of mine, and I were chatting when the question arose, "Is this a normal thing, just the 'way it is'?"

We had not been complaining, you understand, but merely in a jocular way comparing notes with each other on some of the things that seem to be different now, some of the things we used to accept as normal which we find we can no longer accomplish.

"Yes," I replied to his question.  "The Bible addresses the issue in various places.  My favorite passage is in Second Samuel where Barzillai declines David's invitation to join him in the palace in Jerusalem.  During David's exile while running from his rebellious son, Absalom, Barzillai had housed and provisioned David and his retinue, for he was a man of great substance.

"When the threat had passed and David resolved to return to Jerusalem, Barzillai, went with David so far as the Jordan to see him safely across.  In gratitude for his service, David asked Barzillai to come up to Jerusalem with him, abide at his house and eat at his table.  The man responded
I am an old man.  This day I am eighty years of age.  Can I discern between good and evil?  Can I taste what I eat or what I drink?  Can I hear anymore the voice of the singing men or the singing women?  Why then should I be a burden to my lord the King?  I will go a little way across the river with you, and why should the King recompense me with such a reward?  Let me then return to my own city where I can die and be buried by the graves of my father and of my mother.
 "Yes, it is a condition of life that the hearing will likely fade, that our judgment may be impaired, that we will be unable to savor our sustenance, and unable to function in many ways that we found normal in our youth.  Another passage that addresses this is the last chapter of Ecclesiastes.  Poetic as it is, it goes into greater detail than the old man did at the Jordan River."

Word of the day:  Read Ecclesiastes 12.

12 comments:

Secondary Roads said...

I had a similar experience with a friend at lunch today. We lived in the same dorm during our freshman year at Michigan State.

vanilla said...

Chuck, it is fun to reconnect with friends from the past.

KC Bob said...

Reminds me of Jesus' words to Peter at the end of John's gospel.

vanilla said...

KC Bob, was that to say, "His business is none of yours; mind My business"?

KC Bob said...

When you are old someone will bring you where you do not wish to go. ツ

vanilla said...

Bob, Okay, I needed to read a few verses earlier to grasp the message you sent. The later one is good, too.

KC Bob said...

One of those verses that stay with you. I posted something short about that verse earlier this year. You can read it here.

vanilla said...

Bob, well said. One of the places this day and age to which we are taken though we don't want to go is the nursing home. My wife often says, "Getting old is not for sissies." Whatever that means.

Marsha Young said...

Well, Vanilla - the Lovable Old Coot and I just spent the last week discovering that many things which we do not consider "normal" are, in fact, often done by those among us who have not yet "crested the hill" - as it were.

Meanwhile, we have definitely "crested" and are now "coasting" down the other side, pretty much content; but occasionally confused by
modern times. :) Just saying ...
Have a good evening - Marsha

vanilla said...

Marsha, contentment is the place to be. Confusion is the state of the times. Blessings.

Ilene said...

I just read Ecclesiastes 12. What we have today that they did not have in that time: surgeries, medicines, supplements implants, transplants, eyeglasses, hearing aids, hair dye, and plastic surgery, none of which can keep us alive forever. Perhaps our great grandchildren will live to see 1000 years, according to this article.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/04/us-ageing-cure-idUSTRE7632ID20110704

vanilla said...

Ilene, the perpetual desire to turn back the clock. Yes, some of the things you mention enhance or improve life for a time, but as for the pipe dream of living a millennium, that is what it is: a pipe dream.